The First Night Off of Caeriel Island
By Caeriel Crestin
photo by Warren Henderson
Saturday was our opening night of The International Improv Experience.
I was floored.
This show is a collaboration with improvisers from all over the world. These generous and excellent people put in time, energy, humor and creativity to film video challenges for us to interpret and perform on stage in front of a live audience.
We’d never done the show before opening night. We’d done run-throughs and such, sure, but always with some bullshit we made up to stand in for the actual videos, where we’d just stand on stage and pretend to be a video from such-and-such place we’d possibly visited once (or frequently in my case, “Caeriel Island” a possibly imaginary place I know rather well.) We were flying blind because having never seen an actual video sent from foreign improvisers, we could only imagine the kinds of things they’d send us, and of course our imaginations fell short of the wonderful reality.
Other people are great.
So when we finally got to do the show and see some of the actual videos we got sent, it was inspiring, shocking, delightful, and for me, kind of spiritual. I’ve never met any of these people. Yet they went out of their way to create something insanely fun for me (and the rest of us in the cast) to do! How cool is that??
I’m tearing up a little because if that wasn’t delightful enough in and of itself, I also felt this incredible sense of community, because I knew that all these people have this funny part of their brain that is similar to a funny part of my brain, that they all probably share a pretty similar approach not just to being on stage, but to life and other people. A willingness to play along. To co-create. To say, “Yes and…!”
I’ve been part of various communities: queers (and specifically radical faeries), pedicabbers, nerds, gamers, and so on. But I’ve never quite felt that peculiar and profound sense of kinship—“These people are like me! I can trust them in a very particular and amazing way just because of this thing we all do.”
To me, that is a brand-new feeling. It’s profound and just plain awesome. I feel lucky to be part of this show, lucky to be part of the Austin community, and lucky to be connected to this even larger community that spans languages, cultures, and continents. So. Fucking. Cool.
The International Improv Experience runs every Saturday at 8pm in July and August of 2014. Get tickets here.